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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "Holger Danske"

Holger Danske

The first flame led him into a dark, narrow dungeon cell, and there he could see the prisoner, a beautiful woman-Eleonora Ulfeld, daughter of King Christian IV. The flame became a rose that blossomed on her breast, and became one with the heart of that noblest and best of all Danish women. "Yes, that is indeed a heart in Denmark's arms!" said the old grandfather.

And his thoughts followed the second flame far out to sea, where cannons thundered and the ships were shrouded in smoke, and the flame like a ribbon of honor fastened itself to the breast of Hvitfeldt, who blew up himself and his ship to save the fleet.

The third flame led him to the miserable huts of Greenland, where the preacher, Hans Egede, labored with loving words and deeds; that flame became a star on his breast, another heart in the arms of Denmark.

And the thoughts of the old grandfather hastened on before the leaping flame, for he knew where it wanted to go. In the humble little room of the peasant woman stood Frederick VI, and wrote his name with chalk on the beam. The flame trembled on his breast and in his heart, and in the peasant's room that kingly heart became a heart in the arms of Denmark. The old grandfather wiped a tear from his eyes, for he had known and lived for King Frederick of the silvery locks and the honest blue eyes, and he sat in silence with folded hands.

Just then his daughter-in-law came and said it was late, and that he ought to rest; besides, the supper table was spread.

"But what a beautiful figure you have made, grandfather!" she cried. "Holger Danske and our old coat of arms! But wait! It is almost as if I've seen that face before!"

"No, I'm sure you haven't," said the old grandfather. "But I've seen it, and I've tried to carve it in wood just as I remembered it. It was long ago, when the English fleet lay in front of Copenhagen, on that Danish second of April, when we proved we were all good old Danes. On board the Denmark, where I fought in Steen Bile's squadron, there was a man beside me - why, the bullets themselves seemed to be afraid of him!

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